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Full text of "Address of Col. A. E. Jones, at Turpin's Grove, Anderson Township, on reminiscences of the early days of the Little Miami Valley, July 4, 1878"

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JULY 4th, 1878, 


" Reminiscences of the Early Days of the Little Miami Valley." 

Within the last year, by invitation, T had the honor of 
addressing the citizens of this vicinity on a subject of great 
interest, not only to the people of this country, but to the 
inhabitants of every civilized nation; for upon the success- 
ful pursuit of agriculture, as we endeavored to show on that 
occasion, depends in a great measure the wealth, the power, 
and permanent prosperity of every civilized people. It is the 
fountain head from which flows all those cleme .its that com- 
bine to make nations great, and by which all other branches 
of industry that contribute to the happiness of mankind, are 

These highly cultivated farms in this beautiful valley are 
unmistakable evidences of the fact that you do not under- 
estimate the importance of this great industry, and the com- 
forts that surround the farmers prove that their labors have 
not been in vain. 

The subject upon which I have been requested to address 
you to-day, "The Reminiscences of the Early Days of the 
Little Miami Valley," may not be of so much interest to the 
general public, but locally, the history of this valley must 
ever be interesting, because of the circumstances under which 
>t was settled, and because of the trials, hardships and perils 


the pioneers passed through in transforming a wilderness into 
the highly cultivated country of the present day. 

It can not be expected, however, in the brief time allowed 
on such an occasion as this, that more than a glance can be 
taken of the more important events of its exploration and 
early settlement; nor might it at first view seem to be a fitting 
subject on this "National Day;" but, if I have read the his- 
tory of the West correctly, the circumstances attending the 
first settlement of this valley, as well as of all the territory 
between the Scioto and Little Miami rivers, have a close 
historical connection with the deeds and lives of the heroic 
men who made this day the most glorious in the annals of 
our country. 

When or what white men first beheld this magnificent 
scenery before us, or trod upon this soil, we may never cer- 
tainly know. They may have been French voyageurs, or 
captives of the red men, who, far away from friends and 
home, were tortured to death, and had no opportunity to 
tell what they had seen ; or perhaps the fearless traders from 
Pennsylvania or Virginia may have seen it in their annual 
visits to the savages for the purpose of traffic. 

Be this as it may, the colonists of Virginia and Pennsyl- 
vania at a very early date had learned by some means or 
other, either from traders or the natives, that the Ohio country, 
as it was called, was a land of great fertility and of surpassing 
natural advantages, creating a great desire to form colonics 
or settlements west of the Alleghany mountains. There was, 
however, no organized effort to this end until 1748 and 1749, 
when a land company was formed by Thomas Lee, President 
of the Council of Virginia, Lawrence and Augustine Washing- 
ton, elder brothers of George Washington, and John Hanbury, 
a wealthy merchant of London. They procured a charter 
from the Government of Great Britain, and under that charter 
a grant of five hundred thousand acres of land between the 
Kanawha and Monongahela rivers, with the privilege of 
locating a part of the grant on the north side of the Ohio 

The indefinite rumors of the great fertility of the lands 


north and bordering on the Ohio induced them, before locat- 
ing their grant, to employ an agent to explore this territory 
as far West as the great Falls, (now Louisville). 

For this purpose they selected Christopher Gist, a surveyor, 
and an experienced woodsman and hunter, well acquainted 
with the Indian character, who resided at the time, on the 
Yadkin river in Virginia, near the line of North Carolina, 
and who, three years afterward, became so renowned as the 
companion of George Washington in his expedition up the 
Alleghany river to Venango. 

Gist left Virginia on the 31st of October, 1750, crossed 
the Ohio at Big Beaver, below Pittsburg, and struck boldly 
out through the wilderness, exploring the country until he 
reached Muskingum, a town of the Wyandots and Mingos. 
There he met George Croghan, a veteran trader from Penn- 
sylvania, with whom he traveled north a hundred miles in 
February, '51, to Piqua, the residence of the Twigtwees, a 
tribe of the Miamis. Returning to the Shawanee village at 
mouth of the Scioto, he continued his journey down the 
shores of the Ohio, examining with great care the quality 
of the land, the number, size and course of the streams. In 
his journal he speaks of the two Miamis and of the great 
fertility of the soil in their valleys, and that he explored 
the Gi 2at Miami in March, 175 1, as far north as Loramie 
creek, 47 miles above the now city of Dayton, where the 
Piankaskas, another tribe of Miamis, lived. 

He was treated with much kindness by the Indians with 
whom he had thus far come in contact, but they warned him 
not to proceed to the Falls, as there was at that time a party 
of warriors hunting in that vicinity — allies of France — who 
would take his scalp. 

He, however, returned to the mouth of the Miami, thence 
west to within fifteen or twenty miles of the Trails, where he 
saw unmistakable evidences of the proximity of Indians. 

Crossing the Ohio, he went up the Kentucky river as far 
as Blue Stone, spending some six weeks in exploring the 
lands on either side of that river ; thence home across the 


now State of Kentucky, to Virginia, where he arrived in 
May, 1 75 1. 

This is the first authentic account we have of the explor- 
ation of this region by any white man. Christopher Gist, 
therefore, so far as we now know, was the first white man 
who ever gazed upon these lovely hills and dales. 

On his return he gave a glowing account of the country 
along the Ohio, of the great fertility of the soil, of its numer- 
ous crystal streams, the magnificence of its forests, of the 
grandeur and surpassing beauty of the scenery, mildness of 
the climate, abundance of game of every description in its 
forests and on its plains, and of the fine quality of the fish 
that swarmed in its waters ; closing his report by saying that 
"cultivation was all that was necessary to make it a delight- 
ful country," 

The Ohio Company, of which Lawrence Washington had 
now become the manager, by reason of the death of Mr. 
Lee, immediately took the most active measures to establish 
colonies and settlements in the great northwest; yet for more 
than thirty-seven years after Gist's exploration, not a solitary 
white settlement was successfully established within the pres- 
ent limits of the State of Ohio, for reasons to which we will 
briefly allude. 

Lawrence Washington desired to establish these settlements 
with Germans from Pennsylvania, but here a difficulty arose 
which he was not then able to overcome. 

The greater part of the Northwest Territory was then claimed 
by Virginia, and the established church of that colony was the 
Church of England, and settlers on any part of Virginia 
Territory would be required to pay parish rates for the 
support of the clergy. These Germans were dissenters and 
were not willing to pay such rates. Washington sought to 
have them exempt from this burden, but without success. 
"It has ever been my opinion," said he, "and I hope it ever 
will be, that restraints on conscience are cruel in regard to 
those on whom they are imposed, and injurious to the 
country imposing them." 

The company proceeded, however, with active preparation 


for their grand colonizing scheme, and it is possible that 
the difficulties of parish rates may at length have been over- 
come, but greater and more insurmountable obstacles were 
destined to keep back the tide of emigration from this chosen 
land. The crystal streams of the slopes of the Alleghany, 
and of the plains of Ohio were yet to be dyed with the blood 
of pioneers and traders, ere settlements could be accom- 

The French, who then held Canada and the territory west 
of the Wabash to the Mississippi, watched with jealous eyes 
every movement of the English colonists, and sought by every 
means possible to arouse the suspicion and enmity of the 
savages against them. They claimed that all the territory 
watered by the Mississippi and its branches as far as the 
Alleghanies, belonged to the Crown of France by right of 
discovery made by Padre Marquette in 1680, when he crossed 
from Canada and descended the Mississippi as far south as 
the Arkansas River. 

On the other hand England claimed that all the lands 
between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans belonged to England 
by virtue of the discovery of John Cabot, years before the 
discovery of Marquette — and furthermore that the six nations 
who held the northwest territory as far west as the Mississippi, 
by conquest — had sold it to England by a treaty made at 
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1744. Each of these nations 
knowing now the value of the territory in dispute, began 
preparations to maintain their claims and to use every means 
possible to gain the natives to their respective interests. 

The Indians did not object to trading with their white 
brothers, but they objected to them clearing their lands, 
destroying their hunting grounds and driving off the game. 

The French understood this, and did not attempt to make 
settlements on their hunting lands, but simply traded with 

The English on the other hand, sought every opportunity 
to secure treaties and titles from them, and to establish settle- 
ments. It was not long, therefore, before the French, more 


cunning and politic, had nearly all of the Western tribes in 
their interest, and suspicious of English encroachments. 

Such was the determination of both England and France 
to acquire permanent possession of the northwest territory, 
that a resort to arms was inevitable. 

The forks of the Ohio (Pittsburg,) was the important point 
to secure, as the key to the West, and in 1754 a force of men 
was sent in advance of the troops organizing in Virginia, to 
erect fortifications at that point; but before the army under 
Fry and Washington could be made ready and cross the 
mountains, the French, in an overwhelming force, came down 
the Alleghanys and took possession of the uncompleted 

Washington, in that expedition, was compelled to retreat 
from the Monongahela, and surrender to the combined forces 
of French and Indians, at Fort Necessity, near the Great 
Meadows, and not far from Uniontown, Pennsylvania. The 
next year, 1755, another army, composed of regulars of the 
British army and volunteers, under command of General 
Edward Braddock, was organized, and made another expe- 
dition against the French and Indians, at Fort Duquesne. 
On the 9th of July, 1755, Braddock crossed the Monongahela, 
near the mouth of the Youghiogheny, with his splendidly 
equipped army, confident, in a few hours, of marching a 
conqueror over the ramparts of Fort Duquesne. Never was 
an army in better condition or higher spirits than on that fatal 
9th of July, as it gayly marched down the Monongahela with 
drums beating and flags flying. The morning was calm, clear 
and bright; nature was clothed in her richest summer dress;- 
the hills and valleys on either side of the river, covered with 
a luxuriant growth of grass, interspersed here and there with 
flowers of every hue. The feathered choristers poured forth 
from every tree their matin songs in sweetest notes of praise 
to "Him who letteth not a sparrow fall without His knowl- 

The placid waters of the beautiful river flowed gently on 
their right, the bright scarlet uniforms contrasting pleasantly 
with the rich verdure of nature, and their well polished 


muskets glistened in the sunlight. The shrill notes of the 
fife and the rattle of the drum echoed from hill to hill, and 
confidence beamed from the countenances of the troops, as 
merrily they marched along beneath the banner of "Old 
England." They knew their General was an accomplished 
and brave soldier, who had won many a victory on the battle- 
fields of Europe. 

Alas! They knew not the wily foe they would in a few 
hours meet in deadly conflict. Braddock recrossed the river, 
was ambuscaded, half his army slain ; and utterly defeated, was 
compelled to make an ignominious retreat, himself mortally 
wounded. Again were the hopes of the pioneers crushed. 

In 1758 another expedition, under Boquet and Washington, 
was more successful, and Fort Duquesne was captured. Then, 
again, were the eyes of the colonists turned to the West, but 
the savages had become so hostile that not a settlement on 
the northwest side of the Ohio was made, and so matters re- 
mained until the Revolutionary war. England had never 
been able to gain a permanent foothold in the territory north- 
west of the Ohio. Thousands of pioneers with their families 
were butchered or tortured to death by the savages, hundreds 
of soldiers had fallen, but to no purpose. They held Fort 
Duquesne, then called Fort Pitt, but no further could they 
go. There seemed to be a higher power than man, which 
said to England, "So far shall thou go, but no farther." 

It appeared hard to the sturdy pioneers that a land that 
literally flowed with milk and honey should be left to a savage 
race who knew not its value for cultivation. 

Notwithstanding all the sufferings and death endured by 
the pioneers, the hand of Providence could at last be seen in 
all this when the colonists struck for independence, and the 
English had been prevented from forming settlements west of 
the Alleghanies? 

Had permanent settlements succeeded in the great North- 
west, composed of emigrants loyal to the Crown, Canada on 
the north and the English army and navy on the scacoasts, 
where would have been the hope of the colonists in their 
struggle for independence ? Success would have been 


impossible, and this fair land in all probability would have 
been now subject to Great Britain or still inhabited by the 
red man. 

Hard, hard indeed, was the lot of the adventurous pioneers; 
but the most skeptical could but acknowledge that He who 
controls the destinies of men and nations saw farther than 
man, and had determined that in His own good time and way 
this should become, as it has, an empire of absolute freedom, 
where the clanking chains of slavery should never be heard, 
and where beneath the banner of civil and religious liberty, 
every man might worship God according to the dictates of his 
own conscience. 

When the Revolutionary war broke out, the English 
changed their tactics with the Indians, and incited them to 
hostility against the Americans, furnishing them with arms 
and ammunition to murder those who might return to settle 
north of the Ohio; and during that long struggle no settle- 
ments were formed within the limits of our State. 

When the war was over, and the whole of the Northwest 
had been ceded to the Confederated States of America by the 
treaty of Paris, in 1783, men again began to cast their eyes to 
this land of promise; disappointment for a time, however, as 
before, was to be their doom. 

The Indians appeared more hostile than ever, and disre- 
garded every treaty they had made : instigated, as had been 
shrewdly suspected, by English emmissaries, who had still 
some hope that a Republic would prove to be a failure, and 
that they would once more possess our fair heritage. Thus 
affairs continued until 1787, when the Indian titles had been 
extinguished by the treaties of Fort Stanwix, Fort McKintosh, 
and Muskingum, and the ordinance of 1787 had been adopted 
by the Congress of the Confederated States. 

Virginia had on the 1st of March, 1784, magnanimously 
ceded her right and title to the Northwest, insisting upon this 
condition only, that contracts made with her Continental 
soldiers should be held inviolate, and reserved for their benefit 
all the lands on the Ohio, between the Scioto and Little 
Miami rivers. Hence, I said, the deeds and the lives of the 


men who made this the most glorious day in the annals of our 
country, had a close historical connection with this valley. 

In 1786, a company was organized, called also the Ohio 
Company, in Boston, by Generals Putnam and Parsons, and 
the Rev. Dr. Cutler, composed principally of revolutionary 
soldiers, to purchase territory on the Ohio river. They 
selected the mouth of the Muskingum, where they landed on 
the 7th of April, 1788, and made the first permanent settle- 
ment within the limits of Ohio. 

The fertility of the Miami country had been well known 
ever since the exploration of Christopher Gist, and many were 
the pioneers who longed to settle therein, but were prevented 
by the causes already mentioned. Now, as these difficulties 
had apparently disappeared, explorers were again seeking it. 

Among those who had examined it in 1786 was Captain 
Benjamin Stites, of Redstone (Brownsville), Pennsylvania. 
He was so pleased with the land in this region that he deter- 
mined to make application to Congress for a purchase between 
the two Miamis; he could not obtain any east of the Little 
Miami, that having been reserved by Virginia as a military 
district for her Continental soldiers. 

For this purpose he traveled to New York either on foot or 
horseback, where Congress was then in session. There he 
made the acquaintance of John Cleve Symmes, a member of 
Congress from New Jersey, whom he requested to assist him 
in making his purchase. After Judge Symmes had heard 
Captain Stites' glowing description of the Miami country, he 
concluded the purchase had better not be made until he 
(Symmes) had seen it. 

In 1787 he visited the West and examined the territory 
between the two Miamis, and found, like the Queen of Sheba, 
that "Lo! the half had not been told him," and immediately 
went back and made application in his own name to purchase 
two million acres between the two Miamis, and received a 
contract for one million acres, which, after being surveyed, 
was found to contain less then 600,000. Of this tract he 
sold Captain Stites 20,000 acres, as shown by the following 
curious contract copied from the Records of Hamilton county. 


"Whereas, Congress, by the resolutions of the 22d day of 
October, 1787, directed the Commission of the Treasury 
Board to contract with John C. Symmes for all the lands lying 
between the two Miami rivers to a certain line which forms 
the north bend thereof, these may certify that if Captain Ben- 
jamin Stites shall raise certificates to pay for twenty thousand 
acres of the same or any larger quantity, he shall have it at 
the price agreed with the Treasury Board, which is five shil- 
lings per acre, making payment therefor, and in all things 
conforming to the conditions of the contract with the Treasury 
Board, and also with the articles or conditions of the sale 
and settlement of the land which will be published by John 
C. Symmes. On Captain Stites purchasing twenty thousand 
acres, or any larger quantity, he shall have the privilege of 
appointing one surveyor to assist in running out the country, 
so far as the proportion he purchases shall be to the whole- 

"This surveyor shall be entitled to receive the same fees for 
his services as the other surveyors employed in that survey 
shall receive. As soon as credit or time of payment can be 
given, agreeable to the contract, Captain Stites shall have the 
benefit thereof as all other purchasers shall have, but this is 
not till after the two first payments. 

[Signed] "John Cleves Symmes. 

"New York, 9th of November, 1787." 

This was followed by another contract, made at Brunswick, 
New Jersey, on December 7th, 1787. 

"Captain Benjamin Stites enters ten thousand acres and the 
fraction on the Ohio and Little Miami rivers, and is to take in 
Mr. John Carpenter as one of his company, to be on line or 
sections on the Ohio and Little Miami; from the point, and 
ten thousand acres on equal lines and sections at the mill 
stream falling into the Ohio between the Little and Great 
Miami's — which, when the certificates therefor are paid and the 


Record Book open, shall be recorded to him and to such of 
his company as join therefor. 

[Signed] "John C. Symmes. 

"New Brunswick, 7th of December, 1787." 

Then there seems to have been a supplement, without date 
or signature: 

"The last ten (10,000) thousand acres is to be taken in the 
following manner: Two sections at the mouth of Millcreek, 
and the residue to begin four (4) miles from the Ohio up Mill- 
creek. Captain Stites takes four (4) sections on the Little 
Miami with the fraction adjoining the ten (10,000) thousand 
acres where it comes to the Little Miami, and four sections 
with the section next above the range of township taken by 
Daniel , Esq., on the Little Miami." 

On the Sth of February, 1793, Capt. Stites paid in full for 
his land, as will appear from the following receipt: 

Cincinnati, February the Sth, 1793. 

Received of Benjamin Stites, Esq., at different payments, 
certificates of debts due by the United States, to the amount 
of ten thousand six hundred and fifty-two dollars and twenty- 
three one-hundreths of a dollar, in payment for different parts 
of the Miami purchase, lying, as may appear by location of 
Mr. Stites, ten thousand acres round Columbia, seven sec- 
tions on the waters of Millcreek for different people, as will 
appear by the Miami records ; and about three or four sec- 
tions in the neighborhood of Covalt's station, and in 
cash orders and other articles,- to the amount of one 
hundred and fifty-eight pounds, eight shillings and eight 
pence, for which lands, accommodated to the several loca- 
tions, I promise to make a deed in fee simple, so soon as 
I am enabled by receiving my deed from the United States. 

Attest : Signed, 

John S. Gano. John C. Symmes. 


In the summer of 1788, Captain Stites and his party- 
launched their broad-horn boat on the waters of the Mononga- 
hela, and started on their journey to their future homes at the 
mouth of the Little Miami, and arrived in July, at Limestone, 
now Maysville, Kentucky. 

There he made clapboards for roofs of their cabins, and 
drew up an article of agreement (which we have not been able 
to find), signed by thirty persons, agreeing to form a settlement 
at the mouth of the Little Miami; some of them, however, 
backed out, on account of reports circulated, as was said, by 
Kentuckians, interested in settlements in that Territory, to the 
effect that a large party of hostile Indians were encamped at 
the Miami. They started from Limestone on the 16th day of 
November, 17S8, and landed below the mouth of the Miami, 
on the 1 8th; after taking some precautions to prevent surprise 
by the Indians, they proceeded to erect a block-house, in 
front of the residence of Athen Stites, Esq., which is probably 
the spot where they landed. They began work on the block- 
house on the 19th of November, a part of the men standing 
guard while the others worked. On the 24th of November 
the women and children and their goods were removed 
into it. 

In the first Directory of the city of Cincinnati, published in 
October, 1819, the names of the " First Settlers of Columbia" 
are given as — "Major Benjamin Stites, James H. Bailey, Heze- 
kiah Stites, Daniel Shoemaker, Elijah Stites, Owen Owens, 
Jno. S. Gano, three women, a number of small children and 
several other persons whose names are forgotten." In a work 
published by Robert Clarke, Esq., of Cincinnati in 1872, and 
kindly furnished me by that gentleman a short time since, the 
following names appear as the names of 


James H. Bailey, Zephu Ball, Jonas Ball, James Bowman, 
Edward Buxton, W. Coleman, Benjamin Davis, David Davis, 
Owen Davis, Samuel Davis, Francis Dunlavy, Hugh Dunn, 
Isaac Ferris, John Ferris, James Flinn, Gabriel Foster, Luke 


Foster, John S. Gano, Newell, John Phillips, Jonathan Pit- 
man, Benjamin F. Randolph, James Seward, William Goforth,v- 
Daniel Griffin, Joseph Grove, John Hardin, Cornelius Hurley, 
David Jennings, Henry Jennings, Levi Jennings, Ezekiel Lar- 
ned, John McCullough, John Manning, James Mathews, Aaron 
Mercer, Elijah Mills, Ichabod Miller, Patrick Moore, William 
Moore, John Morris, Benjamin Stitcs, Thomas C. Wade, 
John Web, Wickerham. 

Some of these, no doubt, made up the number of those who 
came down with Captain Stites. They found no Indians 
on their arrival. There was, however, an encampment of 
Indians some six miles back from the Ohio river, who soon 
discovered the boats of Captain Stites. They had with them 
a white man called "George," who had been taken prisoner 
twelve years before, when a boy. They sent "George" near 
the block-house, to have a talk with their white brothers. He 
called in English to some men at work, but they, supposing 
him to be one of their own party, gave him a rough answer, 
when he and the Indians with him fled to their encampment. 
In a few days afterward, several engineers went out hunting, 
and when some distance from the block-house, a party of 
Indians on horseback discovered their trail, and soon came up 
with them. The engineers thought they were hostile, and 
prepared for defense. John Hamson and Mr. Cox leveled 
their guns at them, when one of the Indians trailed his gun, 
took off his cap and extended his hand in a friendly manner, 
"George" telling Hamson not to shoot, they were friendly, 
and wanted to be taken to the block-house. Becoming satis 
fied that they had no hostile intentions, they took them to the 
block-house, and the whites and Indians soon became very 
friendly, the hunters lodging frequently in their camps when 
out hunting, and the Indians spending days and nights in 
the block-house and cabins of the settlers ,with their 
squaws and pappooses, regaling themselves on "old Mononga- 
hela whisky." 

Soon after Captain Stites had commenced his settlements, 
ten or twelve soldiers of the regular army came down from 
Limestone, and erected another block-house below that built 


by the settlers, said to have been near or between the toll-gate 
on the California Pike and the river. 

Captain Stites sent messengers to John Cleves Symmes, then 
at Limestone, informing him that the reports of the hostility of 
the Indians were false ; Judge Symmes then determined to begin 
his settlements, at the mouth of the Great Miami, and sent a 
party forward early in January, 17S9, with stock and pro- 
visions. They landed at Columbia, where their boats were 
crushed by the ice, and nearly all of their stock and provisions 
were lost. The river rose, during that month, to an unusual 
height, and covered the Miami bottoms, leaving but one cabin 
above the water. The soldiers had to climb to the top of the 
block-house, and escape to the high ground in a boat, which 
they had fortunately preserved from being crushed by the ice. 

Judge Symmes left Limestone on the 29th of January, 
1789, with his family, for the mouth of the Great Miami; but 
on his arrival at Losantiville, as Cincinnati was then called, he 
learned that the site for his great city was many feet under 
water. He then began the settlement of North Bend early 
in February. The two chosen spots for great cities at the 
mouths of the two Miamis being both under water, gave 
Losantiville a great advantage, and was the cause, no doubt, 
of it being finally chosen as the best location for a large city. 
It is said, however, another cause had a greater influence in 
its favor. 

Judge Symmes had prevailed upon the Government to send 
him troops to protect his settlement at North Bend, where a 
fort was to be built by the officer commanding. There was 
a beautiful woman, the wife of one of the pioneers, to whom 
the officer in command (Ensign Luce), it seems, became very 
attentive, so much so that the husband thought it but right 
to leave North Bend and move up to Losantiville. The 
officer began at once to doubt the propriety of erecting a 
fort at North Bend. Symmes insisted that it should be built 
there. The officer finally agreed that he would not posi- 
tively decide until he had carefully examined the matter, 
and went up to Losantiville prospecting, and immediately 
began the erection of a block-house. The troops were taken 


there, and the settlers deeming it safer to be where they could 
be protected from Indians, who had already murdered several, 
began to move toward the neighborhood of the block-house, 
at Losantiville. 


Met with their first misfortune in the flood of January, 1789, 
losing much of their property, which could not be replaced. 

All of their cabins were under water but one. They had com- 
menced their settlement in the fall, and had to wait until the 
next year before a crop could be raised, and were compelled 
to depend on the meagre supplies to be obtained from an occa- 
sional boat from the Monongahela or Upper Ohio, or what 
could be brought from the neighborhood of Lexington on 
pack-horses ; in either case, that little was obtained at enor- 
mous prices, and most of them having spent their means in 
paying for their lands and moving their families, were too poor 
to buy at any price. The most favorably situated had great 
difficulty in providing for their families. There was plenty 
of wild game, but no corn or salt, and other necessaries of life. 

In the spring and summer of 1789, the women and children 
dug up roots, while the men worked, for the subsistence of 
their families, frequently going up as far as Turkey Bottom 
to procure the root of the bear-grass, which, being dried, was 
pounded as fine as possible and used as a substitute for bread ; 
and this often at the peril of their lives, or of being captured 
by Indians, who very soon became troublesome. 

To add to the distress of the organized communities of 
settlers, many adventurers had come out voluntarily, with 
the expectation of receiving land gratuitously, which they 
could immediately begin to cultivate for the subsistence of 
their families ; but they found to go into the wilderness any 
distance from the block-houses or stations, was exposing them- 
selves and families to almost certain destruction. 

To remain in the settlements, starvation stared them in the 
■■ice. Their only hope was for a number to join and erect 
strong block-houses, in which their families and goods could 


be protected. This plan was adopted, and several stations 
were established in the neighborhood of Columbia, Cincin- 
nati and North Bend. Garrard station, where Major Stitcs 
and Capt. Flinn had a severe battle with the Indians, was 
just below here, on the Colonel Taylor farm, now cultivated 
by my good friend Mart. Hess. Covalt's was above on Round 
Bottom, Dunlap's at Colerain, White's at Carthage, Ludlow 
at the place near St. Bernard, now known as Ludlow station, 
on the Marietta Railroad. There was also one at Mont- 
gomery, and a block-house on Walnut Hills, built by the 
Reverend James Kemper. From these block-houses the 
men would sally forth in the morning; some would work at 
clearing the land, while others would stand guard or scout 
in the neighborhood to prevent surprise by the Indians. At 
night all would retire within, taking their property, tools and 
implements with them. Notwithstanding all these precau- 
tions many were killed and captured, almost beneath the walls 
of the block-houses. 

The Indians, through bad treatment of renegade trader's, 
had become irritated, and they looked upon the vJBfites as 
one family, and what one did, all were responsible for. They 
retaliated, first by stealing horses; and, in 1789, a party of 
Shawnees, on their return from a visit to Judge Symmes'. 
stole some horses from Columbia. The pioneers soon fol- 
lowed on their trail, and Captain Flinn went in advance as 
a scout, but was captured and taken to the Indian camp. 
Suspecting from their movements going on about him that 
personal violence was intended, he suddenly sprang from their 
midst and made his escape to his- friends. They captured 
some of the Indian horses, and returned to Columbia safely. 
In a few days the Indians came to Columbia, and brought 
Captain Flinn's gun, and begged Captain Stites to let them 
have their horses, declaring that they were not the horse 
thieves. After some further parleying, he gave them the 
horses, and all was amicably settled. 

But their troubles were not to end with the loss of horses 
or other articles stolen. . ,' 

Soon after the settlement at Columbia, Turkey Bottom, 


in sight of where we now meet, was leased by Captain Stites 
to several of the settlers. It had been an Indian clearing and 
planted in corn, as had been the bottom at the mouth of the 
river, for a great number of years before the whites arrived, 
and, as I understand, has been annually cultivated in corn 
ever since, now ninety years, and still produces extraordinary 

It is related that in 1 790 Judge Wm. Goforth raised from a 
field which had been cultivated by the Indians, 963 bushels oi 
corn from nine acres, and Captain Benjamin Davis 114 
bushels from one acre. 

Among the lessees of Turkey Bottom was James Seward, 
who occupied one of the lots into which the bottom was 
divided. His dwelling was on the side of the hill at Colum- 
bia, and a path of nearly two miles led to the bottom. Near 
this path Abel Cook had felled a large hickory tree for the 

Two of Seward's sons, Obadiah and John, one about 
twenty-one, the other fifteen, attended to the cultivation of 
the field. On the afternoon of, the 20th of September, 1789, 
on their way to their cleaving, and just as they leaped over 
the hickory tree, two Indians sprang on them from the tree- 
top. The boys were unarmed, np danger being apprehended 
from the Indians then. Obadiah at once surrendered and was 
fastened with twigs, but John, with a desperate effort, made for 
home. The Indian on his side of the tree gained on him, and 
when within striking distance, hurled his tomahawk at him, 
cleaving his skull behind the ear, and as soon as he was over- 
taken, he was again struck in the head, scalped, and left for 
dead, part of his brains oozing from his wounds; but he was 
found by his neighbors and lifted on the back of John Claw- 
son, and carried home, where he lived thirty-nine days. 

Obadiah was held as a captive for some time, when the 
Indians became tired of him and some others, they deter- 
mined to take them to Pittsburg to be ransomed. On their 
way, Obadiah was driving some horses when he accidentally 
took the wrong road, at which an Indian, under the influence 
of liquor, became angry, fired at, and killed him. His head 


was cut off, with some of the skin of the breast adhering, and 
stuck upon a stake, which was driven along the side of the 
road. A hired man, topping and blading corn for John 
Phillips, had been captured in the same month the Sewards 
were attacked, and was with the party on the way to Pitts- 
burg when young Seward was killed, and on his return to 
Columbia gave the first information of him since his capture. 
Soon after this Mr. Newal and another man were killed at 
Round Bottom while hewing logs in front of their cabins. 

Indians would frequently attack the stations, which were 
defended heroically by the pioneers. One of these attacks 
will suffice to show the danger that constantly threatened 
them, even in the block-houses. 

In the Winter of 1790-1, three hundred Indian warriors, 
led by the notorious renegade, Simon Girty, appeared before 
Colerain station, at that time occupied by fourteen (14) 
United States soldiers, under Colonel Kingsbury. On the 
5th of January a surveyor named Sloan, with his party, were 
out surveying, when they were attacked by Indians; one of 
his men was killed, Abner Hunt was captured, and Sloan 
himself wounded, but escaped with John Wallace to Cole- 
rain. On the Monday following, Girt)- sent Hunt near the 
block-house to demand its surrrender. This was refused, and 
the attack was immediately made, but the little garrison 
nobly resisted the assaults of the foe. A parley was asked 
for and the surrender again demanded, with the threat that 
they would take vengeance on the prisoner Hunt if refused. 
Girty said, "They had five hundred warriors, and ail the 
roads to Fort Washington were guarded." 

Kingsbury replied that, " if they were five hundred devils, 
he would not surrender the fort." 

They continued the attack until midnight, when they pro- 
ceeded to carry out their threat on poor Hunt, throwing him 
upon his back, stripped naked, extending his limbs, fasten- 
ing them to stakes in the ground, they built fires upon and 
hacked his body, and tore off his scalp. All night these 
horrid tortures continued, and the screams of the prisoner 
could be heard by those in the station. 


During all the siege they had not a drop of water, and the 
only provisions were a few handfuls of parched corn, distrib- 
uted from time to time, by some girls named Sarah Hahn, 
her sister Salone, Rebecca Crum, and another named Birket. 

On the 7th of July, 1792, Oliver M. Spencer, then a lad 
of thirteen years of age, in company with Jacob Light, Mr. 
Clayton and Mrs. Coleman, and a drunken soldier, started 
from Fort Washington in a canoe, but, as the boat was not 
large enough for such a load, young Spencer thought he 
would walk along the shore, and when just above the James- 
town Ferry, in the First Ward, they were attacked by two 
Indians, concealed in the willows on the bank. Clayton was 
killed and scalped. Light was wounded and fell into the 
river, but managed to swim out of the reach of the savages. 
Mrs. Coleman jumped into the river and floated more than 
a mile, when she was rescued, her clothes bearing her up in 
the water. Young Spencer was captured and taken to their 
towns on the Maumee, and remained a captive eight months, 
when he was ransomed by his father, at Detroit, for the sum 
of one hundred and twenty-five dollars. 

From the recital of these sufferings, we can scarcely imagine 
how the pioneer fathers and mothers could bear up under 
them. Yet they give us but a faint idea of the trials they 

After the first year they could, it is true, raise corn suffi- 
cient for their own necessities, but there were no mills to 
grind it, and it had to be pounded in a wooden mortar, out 
of which they made corn bread. The first mill was Wicker- 
sham's, near the site of the old mill just below the Union 

Colonel Taylor, of Newport, to whom I am under many 
obligations for information on the first settlement of this 
township, informed me yesterday, that his father crossed the 
Ohio river with a colored servant, taking two bags of corn 
to that mill in 1792. The mill was constructed by connect- 
•ng two boats near together and placing a wheel between 
them. The boats were taken to the falls of the Little Miami, 
where Turpin's mill since stood, and the wheel was turned by 


the current. While this was a great improvement over the 
"hominy block," yet it did little more than crack the corn. 

Turpin's mill was not erected until about the year 1805; 
the same year the first ferry on the Miami was established at 
the "old Columbia road," by Samuel and Joseph Holly. 
The sum paid for the lease was $100 in cash and 100 gallons 
of whisky; and it is said that whisky was made at the ferry 
at that time. 

This township, as before stated, was military land on the 
continental establishment, and the surveys or patents were 
in the following names: Richard Clough Anderson, father 
of our highly esteemed fellow-citizen, Larz Anderson, lately 
deceased; the survey was number 1,677, 454 acres; John 
Anderson, No. 427, 750 acres; John Brown, No. 706, 200 
acres; Theo. Bland, No. 620, 1,333^ acres; Robert Blair, 
Wm. Cassel, John Demsey, Benj. Gray, John Halfpenny, 
Daniel Sahon, No. 535, 1,000 acres; John Crittenden, No. 
410, 1,000 acres; Edward Clark, No. 1,679, 400 acres; Joseph 
Egglestone, No. 609, 1,000 acres; Jacob Fears, No. 706, James 
Figgin, No. 706, James McDonald, No. 706, James Pay ton, 
No. 706, 1,000 acres; John Green, Jarnes Giles, No. 535; 
Wm. Taylor, No. 637, 1,000 acres; Wm. Moseleye, No. 
1,115, 1,000 acres; Robert Morrow, No. 618, 2,000 acres; 
John Nancarrows, No. 3,393, 270 acres; Robert Powells, No. 
552, 600 acres; John Parke, No. 1,126, 1,000 acres; A. Sin- 
gleton, No. 624, 515 acres; "Edward Stevens, No. 1,674, 

• 1,000 acres; Frank Taylor, No.. 4,243; Nathaniel Wilson, 
No. 2,204, 400 acres; John English', No. 6,532, 250 acres; 

• John Hains, No. 3,817, 250 acres; Abram Hites, No. 60S, 
1,000 acres; Hites and Robinson, No. 1,618; P. Higgins, No. 
3,394, 90 acres; Geo. C. Lights, No. 8,903; Nathaniel Massie, 
No. 2,276,600 acres; William Moore, No. 916, 160 acres; 
John Mead, No. 1,682, 434 acres ; Joseph Neville, No. 1,680, 
200 acres; James Pendleton, No. 1,126, 1,000 acres; Holt 
Richardson, No. 500, 1,000 acres; John Steele, No. 536, 
6667^ acres; James Taylor. No. 1,581, 555 acres, (father o( 
Colonel Taylor, of Newport); Bennet Tompkins, No. 395. 
1,666^3 acres; General Washington, No. 1,775, 997 acres. 


This was not entered by General Washington, because his 
claim entitled him to what was called a State line patent, given 
to Virginia troops, for services in the French and Indian wars. 
It was canceled, and the survey in his name was entered by 
Henry Massie, a revolutionary soldier. 

Among the first settlers were Philip Turpin, 1795; Mr. 
Garrard, Issac Vail, Stephen Davis, Stephen Betts, John 
Grimes, the Edwards, Corblys, Debolts, Johnsons, Clarks 
and Durhams. 

Although Anderson Township was not much settled until 
after the Indian troubles, which were brought to an end by 
General Wayne, in 1794, yet all the first settlers had to suffer 
great hardships for many years afterward in common with 
other Western pioneers. 

The dwellings of the first settlers of the west were cabins, 
covered with clapboards, the space between the logs chinked 
with stone or wood, and daubed with mud ; the floors of 
puncheon, and a ladder in one corner to reach the loft ; few 
were able to procure glass for windows, greased paper being 
used as a substitute; their furniture of the rudest character; 
sugar-troughs their cradles. There are persons still living in 
this vicinity who were actually rocked in sugar-troughs. 

The clothes which they had brought from the East were 
replaced by those made of homespun linsey-woolsey or tow- 
linen, and the skins of wild animals; coon and bear-skins, 
furnished the men with caps, instead of hats, and moccasins 
took the place of shoes. Every house had its spinning-wheel, 
and the big wheel on which was spun the flax, the tow and 
wool, that were woven into cloths for garments, on the old- 
fashioned loom, by the mothers and daughters of that day. 
They spun their own yarn then, but it was different from the 
yarns we often hear spun in these more prosperous times. 

Their clothes were of a color exceedingly unpopular in 
Northern States more recently. Their dye-stuff was the 
bark of the butternut, and fortunate, indeed, were they who 
could procure dye-stuffs of different colors, wherewith to 
stripe their cloths. 

They did not forget or neglect their religious duties nor 



that other handmaid of civilization and prosperity, the educa- 
tion of their children. When they went to the old church at 
Columbia — the first built in Hamilton count) 7 — every man 
took his rifle, and guards or sentries remained outside, whose 
steps were heard as they paced around the house, while those 
within were listening to services conducted by the Rev. John 
S. Gano, who preached the first Sermon ever heard in this 
Miami Valley, at the block-house, soon after it was erected 
at Columbia. Schools were taught in the block-houses until 
they could build school-houses, and it was safe for the children 
to attend them. 

The sick were kindly nursed by the neighbors, and when 
death entered the cabin of a pioneer, every one possible went 
to the funeral, and the corpse was not borne to the grave on. 
elliptic springs, in a gilded hearse, at a 2:40 gate, but 
reverently carried to the grave on a bier by the pioneers 

All their deprivations and inconveniences were borne cheer- 
fully, and there was as much and more real happiness in the 
rude cabins of the first settlers than can be found in the more 
pretentious and palatial residences of the present time. There 
was a mutual dependence upon one another which all recog- 
nized, and a confidence between neighbors rarely found at the 
present time. The)' were ever ready to assist one another, 
and had their enjoyments, as well as their hardships. 

If a neighbor was sick or short-handed, and his crops needed 
harvesting, every one turned out with his sickle and rake to 
save it. If a cabin or barn was to be raised, an afternoon was 
appointed, and all were invited to the frolic. So with corn- 
huskings and quiltings, and wood-choppings; no one thought 
of asking pay for such assistance — it was gratuitously and 
cheerfully given. Plenty of "Old Monongahela " and a good 
supper was always on hand, and at night the young people 
gathered in for their share of the fun, the young ladies clad 
in their homespun and coarse shoes, and the young men in 
hunting-shirts and coon-skin caps, buck-skin breeches and 
moccasins; while a darkey perched on a barrel in the corner 
of the room tuned his violin, and struck up an old "Old 


Virginia Reel " that would set all to dancing on the loose 
puncheon floor, and as the old song says, they 

"Danced all night, till broad day light, 
And went home with the girls in the morning." 

"Ah!" said an old Pioneer a few years since, after giving 
me a description similar to the above, "that was dancing, sure 
enough; none of your shams, like they dance now." 

As these settlements were composed principally of old 
revolutionary soldiers, they never forgot to celebrate the 
Fourth of July, but regularly met, with their families, at some 
chosen spot, on that day, and heard from some one of their 
number the Declaration of Independence read, and the story 
of 'the seven years' struggle recounted. On such occasions 
the feast was free — a time of jubilee for all — and, while the 
young men enjoyed themselves at games, wrestling, shooting 
at marks, or foot-racing, the old heroes would talk their battles 
over again, while they sipped their whisky punches ; the cele- 
bration closing frequently with a frolic or dance at night. At 
a later date they had "Independence Ba/ls," as the following 
invitation shows: 


The Honor of Mrs. S 

Company is solicited at a Ball, to be held at the Columbian Inn, on 
Friday Evening next, at seven o'clock, in commemoration of the Birth- 
day of 


Francis Carr, | f I. C. Scott, 

P. A. Sprigman, y Managers. < T. C. Baker, 
N. Longworth, J (W. Irwin. Je 

. N. Longworth, J (_"W\ Irwin, Jr. 

June 30, 1812. 

Such were the lives of the " Pioneer Fathers" and Mothers 
of the West. But who so well qualified as these heroes to 
subdue the wilderness, and make it blossom as the rose? 

The war for independence, in which they had participated, 
had left the country almost bankrupt. The currency was 
fearfully depreciated. They had spent their fortunes in the 
service of their country, with nothing left but their lives, 
stout hearts and willing hands. Business of every kind was 


prostrated, commerce had been destroyed, and there were no 
manufactories. / They had no other resource to look to for 
support than agriculture, and where could they find so favor- 
able prospects as in the great Northwest, with its incom- 
parably fertile soil. The ordinance of 'S? had made it forever 
free. Slavery could never be introduced to compete with 
honest white labor. It had provided for the education of 
their children. It established "liberty of conscience.'" The 
lands belonged to the General Government, for which they 
fought, except the reservation of Virginia for their comrades. 
They needed no capital but the rifle and the ax. With the 
rifle they could defend themselves and procure food, until the 
land could be cultivated, and with the ax the mighty forests 
could be felled and their cabins built. They had faced the 
hardships and dangers of the seven years' war. They had 
mingled in the smoke of the contest. They had endured 
the frosts and storms of winter, with the earth for their 
couch. Cabins, however rude, would be palaces to them. 
"They came, they saw, they conquered." 

" And where are ye, O fearless men ? 
. And where are ye, to-day ? 

We call — the hills reply again, 
That ye have passed away !" * 

Yes! they have passed away. The midnight war whoop of 
the ruthless red man disturbs not their peaceful sleep. 

" A sacred hand ; 
They take their sleep together, while the year 
Comes with its early flowers to deck their graves, 
And gathers them again as Winter frowns." 

Their trials, their sufferings, their labors are over, for they 
"have passed away;" but their deeds and the blessings of 
their labors live after them. They conquered the savage 
hordes that roamed over these lovely hills and vales, and 
skimmed the waters of yonder beautiful river with their light 
canoes. They possessed the land in peace, and literally 
"beat their swords into plow shares, and their spears into 
pruning hooks." They transformed a wilderness into a 


paradise, and left it to us, my countrymen, a priceless heritage. 

May the presen', and future generations ever revere the 

memory of the pioneer fathers and mothers of the Miami 


"But where, Oh! where are they 
Who gave to us this glorious day." 

A hundred and two years have passed since that patriot 
band christened the day we celebrate — "The Birthday of 
American Independence." Death has long since claimed 
them as his own. 

"The bugle's wild and war-like blast, 
Shall muster them no more ; 
An army now might thunder past, 
And they not heed its roar. 

"The starry flag 'neath which they fought 
In many a bloody day, 
From their old graves shall rouse them not, 
For they have passed away." 

Never again shall the martial notes of "Old England" 
challenge them to the conflict nor the clang of the bugle call 
them to battle. No more shall the cannon's deep roar remind 
them of Trenton, of Monmouth, or Princeton. Nor shall the 
shrill notes of the ear-piercing fife awake their martial souls 
to deeds of glory as on the field of Brandywine. No more 
shall the long roll of the drum awake them from their slum- 
bers to join the serried ranks of their countrymen, as at 
Germantown, nor ever more shall their blood be chilled by 
wintry blasts, as it was on the bleak hills of Valley Forge. 
They have heard -their last revielle on earth. Taps to them 
have been sounded. The lights are out. They sleep their 
last sleep from which mortal may not wake them. Gray 
stones and heaped up earth mark them to future times. 
They have passed away, and in their silent tombs they await 
that last alarum, when the grave shall give up its dead, and 
earth shall be no more. 

Until then, through all ages of revolving time, may the 
memories and the deeds of those heroic dead live ever green 
in the hearts of a grateful people. 


History of Cincinnati. 





The work is designed to be a complete History of the City and 
Suburbs from the first exploration of' the Territory between the two 
Miamis down to the present time, compiled from the most Eeliable 
and Authentic sources, Official Documents and Public Journals; with 
an account of the development of the Manufacturing, Mercantile and 
Industrial interests; Its Educational advantages— Literary and Scien- 
tific; and progress in the Arts and Sciences, with descriptions of its 
Public Buildings, Charitable Institutions, Places of Amusement and 
other attractions; Portraits and short Biographical Sketches of Citizens 
prominently identified with its growth and prosperity. Illustrated with 
many Cuts and Drawings of the First Houses and Forts erected by the 
Pioneer Settlers ; Buildings — Public and Private — notable at the present 
time ; together with some Speculations as to its Future Destiny. 

The first volume will be ready in September,, and will embrace the 
period from the first settlement down to 1830. 








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